Crime & Punishment

Crime and justice comment and analysis

More questions in case of cop charged with murder

with 17 comments

The more the extraordinary 2nd degree murder charge laid against Delta Police Constable Jordan MacWilliams in the 2012 death of 48-yr.-old Mehrdad Bayrami is looked into, the more it appears to be the railroading of a good, young police officer.

Murder is an extraordinary charge to be laid against a police officer engaged in executing his or her duty. It is even more extraordinary when laid against an officer working as an ERT (Emergency Response Team) officer.

There are so many aspects of this story that haven’t been told and I’m sorry to say so many apparent gaps in the investigation conducted by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) that one must question whether ulterior motives or politics played a part in laying a charge of murder in this case.

MacWilliams was a member of the Municipal Integrated Emergency Response Team (MIERT) on November 8th, 2012 when, at the start of his shift, his phone went off alerting him to a call-out after shots were fired and a woman was taken hostage.

MacWilliams was the first MIERT officer to arrive on scene at the Starlight Casino in New Westminster. Within the first half-hour, the ERT members arriving set up their containment process which limited the armed suspect to a small patch of pavement on the sidewalk just outside the casino parking lot.

MacWilliams then noticed the hostage had created some separation between herself and the armed suspect. Throwing caution to the wind, MacWilliams and two other officers broke cover and ran towards danger. They deliberately put themselves in harm’s way. MacWilliams and New Westminster Const. Cliff Kusch positioned themselves between the armed suspect and the hostage while fellow Delta PD Const. Mo Parry grabbed the terrified hostage and shepherded her to safety.

MacWilliams and Kusch retreated back to cover, despite the fact either could have taken the shot to take out the suspect during the rescue. They didn’t, while risking their lives, they retreated to try and achieve a peaceful conclusion.

Hours later, the decision was made to try a non-lethal approach to arrest Bayrami using a ‘flash bang’ and ARWEN guns, which fire large plastic projectiles. MacWilliams was designated ‘lethal’ and positioned using an armoured police vehicle for cover. His job was to take the shot if the non-lethal approach went bad and the exposed officers were in jeopardy. This is a typical tactical deployment.

The flash bang went off and Bayrami jumped back, pistol waving in hand, the ARWEN rounds missed the intended target and MacWilliams fired one shot hitting Bayrami, who died nearly two weeks later in hospital.

Last Monday, the woman whose life was undoubtedly saved by MacWilliams and his colleagues showed up at the front counter of Delta Police headquarters incensed after hearing of the murder charge laid against one of the police officers who rescued her. She demanded to speak to an investigator to give a statement. Apparently, in the two years the IIO had the file, she had not been contacted by any investigator.

Think about that. The central figure at the heart of what happened on that day was not contacted by the IIO to tell her story. It’s stunning.

But it doesn’t end there.

According to casino security, to date, the IIO has not asked for, nor received any of the video from the Starlight Casino where the bulk of the events took place.

The suspect laid in wait on that morning in the parking lot of the casino. He attacked a woman as she drove into the parking lot firing three shots into the vehicle, mercifully missing her. He then dragged her from the vehicle at gunpoint and nearly a half a kilometre across the parking lot to the road where police, responding to 9-1-1 calls from casino security, responded. It was at that point the standoff began and the call went out to MIERT. And it was all watched live and recorded by casino security.

One might think that the video of all this activity might be germane to any investigation. But not to the IIO apparently. New Westminster police, who conducted a parallel investigation thought it was and obtained a copy. The Coroner’s service also thought it important and they too have a copy. But not the IIO who is the agency who have sought the charge of murder against MacWilliams.

There is undoubtedly much more to come on this very puzzling case.

Leo Knight

primetimecrime@gmail.com

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Written by Leo Knight

November 19, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Posted in Crime & Punishment

Tagged with , , , ,

17 Responses

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  1. Interesting article.

    As a former Homicide investigator and supervisor of homicide operations I find the omissions you note to be very serious investigative flaws.

    One would hope the oversights are due to lack of investigative experience and not something more nefarious.

    Either way, its simply inexcusable.

    jamesgjewell

    November 19, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    • I agree James. Unfortunately, I think politics may have played a bigger role in this than investigative processes.

      Leo Knight

      November 19, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    • thats what happens when people who have absolutely no investigation experience or police experience do “investigations” what a joke! the iio should be seriously looked at and held accountable for what they are doing to cst macwilliams. anyone ever think about the post traumatic stress injury that will inevitabley ensue?? get with it iio!! hire some retired police officers who know how to conduct an investigation!

      Maureen

      November 20, 2014 at 11:50 pm

  2. I don’t know why they didn’t just ask you for a statement and leave it at that!
    Your account cites no sources and reads like a book report written by a tenth grader whose dad is a cop.

    Braden

    November 19, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    • I have no horses in this race and the story certainly leaves me to believe that the investigation is lacking in some VERY big ways. Your comments cause me to wonder if you’re not related to the investigative (if you can call it that) team.

      Kai Chase

      November 19, 2014 at 11:08 pm

  3. Hi Leo,

    Long time since you and I were police officer as was in the 70’s and 80’s.

    The stark thing about this is that history is repeating itself, as a similar thing happened with an excellent Delta Constable Bob Eden.

    A witness that would have absolved him in a police related shooting was “politely eliminated” by an Inspector but will withhold his name. I am sure many will read this and know who this individual is.

    If then, not for an Inspector Angus discovering this, and taking the right and corrective action Constable Eden would have been treated unfairly.

    The death of any human being is tragic, but no police officer goes to work with such intent.

    I was surprised that such a charge was approved.

    Roscoe_Rules

    November 20, 2014 at 1:56 am

    • I was wondering how long it would be before my shooting was brought up. Just a note to let you know I very much appreciate your comment and I will always be forever grateful for the support I received from my peer group. It brought me through a very difficult time and I’m glad Jordan is experiencing the level of support he is.

      Bob Eden

      November 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm

  4. Reblogged this on 24×7 blog with Cst. Jim Ingram and commented:
    Further insight from Leo Knight.

    Cst. Jim Ingram

    November 20, 2014 at 3:37 am

  5. Jordon should have been honoured in successfully rescuing a hostage. If the legal system charges this young hero with murder , there should be a public outcry…shame on American justice !
    Bayrami should not have taken a hostage etc..the blame lies at his door…he killed himself by putting other lives at risk.
    Have a new set of political views ..and stop using Jordon as a political scapegoat.! Shame on whoever is responsible for charging Jordan with murder. It is obvious this case wasn’t thoroughly investigated.
    The investigators need investigated…I can smell a rat in this unjust cade !

    Joan h

    November 20, 2014 at 11:17 pm

  6. If this is true, the situation is totally unacceptable and a mockery of the justice system. According to the facts presented in the article, the IIO appears to be incompetent in its role. I sure hope politic is not behind this for the sake of our liberties.

    Robert Lanthier

    November 21, 2014 at 10:05 pm

  7. Somebody needs to get a petition going on for this young Officer in order for him to have a fair investigation on this matter. It needs to be someone in the ‘know’ of these types of investigations to launch it. He will have all of our support in sharing and signing. It’s a very simple procedure but must be done soon and it will be shared and signed by many. http://www.change.org/petition

    Rita W.

    November 22, 2014 at 1:28 am

  8. Wait-when an investigation into a shooting by a police officer is not up to par, it’s a travesty.

    Somehow I can’t imagine Leo screaming to the high heavens when poorly led investigations of “criminals” lead to charges/vicious public commentary….Or when police violate citizen’s rights.

    Gary smith

    November 24, 2014 at 7:37 am

  9. Thanks for coming out Cameron

    Richard

    November 24, 2014 at 1:17 pm


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